U.S. Pairs 2018-19 season - News & Updates, Part IX

Sylvia

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Here's a new thread for U.S. pairs to cover the second half of the 2018-19 season...

ISU Season Best Total scores of 11 U.S. Senior level teams (as of Dec. 9 10, 2018; updated with Golden Spin scores):
9) 191.43 Tarah KAYNE / Danny O'SHEA USA ISU GP Internationaux de France 2018
10) 190.49 Alexa SCIMECA KNIERIM / Chris KNIERIM USA ISU GP NHK Trophy 2018
18) 181.56 Ashley CAIN / Timothy LEDUC USA ISU CS 26th Ondrej Nepela Trophy 2018
19) 176.44 Deanna STELLATO-DUDEK / Nathan BARTHOLOMAY USA ISU CS Golden Spin 2018
21) 172.31 Jessica CALALANG / Brian JOHNSON USA ISU CS Tallinn Trophy 2018
23) 170.22 Haven DENNEY / Brandon FRAZIER USA ISU GP Skate Canada International 2018
28) 163.44 Sarah FENG / TJ NYMAN USA ISU JGP Czech Skate 2018 (scheduled to make their SR debut at U.S. Nationals)
32) 157.28 Audrey LU / Misha MITROFANOV USA ISU GP Internationaux de France 2018
34) 151.21 Nica DIGERNESS / Danny NEUDECKER USA ISU GP Skate America 2018
44) 136.91 Jessica PFUND / Joshua SANTILLAN USA ISU CS Finlandia Trophy Espoo 2018
47) 128.91 Winter DEARDORFF / Max SETTLAGE USA ISU CS US International FS Classic 2018

Other Senior pairs (4) expected to be at Nationals in Detroit:
Allison Timlen/Justin Highgate-Brutman
Erika Smith/AJ Reiss (have Worlds/4CC minimum score for FS only)
Olivia Serafini/Mervin Tran (new)
Chelsea Liu/Ian Meyh (new)
(I've heard the 2018 U.S. Junior pewter medalists Nadine Wang/Spencer Howe are no more.)

9 teams currently have the 2019 Worlds/4CC minimum technical element scores:
(Have previous Worlds experience): Kayne/O'Shea, Scimeca Knierim/Knierim, Stellato/Bartholomay, Denney/Frazier
Cain/LeDuc, Calalang/Johnson, Digerness/Neudecker, Lu/Mitrofanov, Pfund/Santillan (attained their minimums last season)

Junior International Total scores (3 spots for Junior Worlds; the 3 JGP teams all have the minimums):
28) 163.44 Sarah FENG / TJ NYMAN USA ISU JGP Czech Skate 2018
41) 140.63 Laiken LOCKLEY / Keenan PROCHNOW USA ISU JGP Czech Skate 2018
48) 128.31 Kate FINSTER / Balazs NAGY USA ISU JGP Czech Skate 2018
---- 97.80 Chelsea LIU / Ian MEYH USA Golden Spin of Zagreb/JR 2018 (did not attain the JW minimums this past week)

Pairs Scoretracker includes all international scores (total, SP, FS) to date, along with known domestic scores: https://unseenskaters.wordpress.com/scoretracker/current-pairs-scores/

Thread for discussion/debate re. Ashley Cain's accident in Zagreb and aftermath: https://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/threads/american-figure-skater-crashes-headfirst-into-the-ice-referee-allows-her-to-continue.104919/
 
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aftershocks

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I was so disappointed to see that Feng/Nyman pulled out of the fp at JGPF after having a rough sp. What reason was given for their WD? I hope they are able to learn from the experience of nerves and making uncharacteristic errors.

They should not be embarrassed. But I realize that's easier said than done. They have such a fun fp. It would have been nice to see them shake off any effects of the sp and just come out looser and enjoy the experience. With a clean skate, it might have been possible for them to pull up at least one spot. It should not be so much about pressure to grab a medal anyway at an event like that. It was an accomplishment to make the final. Go there and be in the moment of the experience.
 

aftershocks

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(I've heard the 2018 U.S. Junior pewter medalists Nadine Wang/Spencer Howe are no more.)
Wow, what happened? I thought they seemed very promising. Are either planning to continue in the sport?

BTW, did Serafini/Tran compete at all yet? Were they at regionals or sectionals?
 

oleada

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Feng/Nyman withdrew due to injury. Her fall from the twist in the SP was pretty nasty.
 

Dobre

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Hm. So there was more than one story, then. I heard something had happened and that he couldn't move correctly or couldn't function at all the morning of the event. (He was having an issue during practices a couple days before as well). She was in the stands during the senior pairs practice on the day they withdrew but clear across the rink from me so some people would have seen her up close. I didn't see him there, though he could have been.
 

Sylvia

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TJ Nyman posted on IG that "Sarah sustained an injury during practice. I’m very proud of her toughness in pushing through the short yesterday and trying to push through practice today. Her pain is too great to continue so along with our coach we decided it was best to withdraw.": https://www.instagram.com/p/BrHo-fNgES8/

(Belated thanks to @RoseRed for the heads up on the then missing Golden Spin scores - I already had S/B's GS scores listed in my Pairs Scoretracker but not in my post #1 and was able to edit before the window closed.)
 

aftershocks

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@Sylvia, is anymore known about Wang/Howe -- i.e., why the split? Are either planning to continue skating?

Also, have Serafini/Tran competed yet, e.g., at regionals and/or sectionals?
 

Sylvia

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aftershocks

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Okay, I'm sorry to hear about Sarah's injury. If it was that problematic added to being shook up about their uncharacteristic errors, I can see them deciding to withdraw to prevent the possibility of further injury. I do hope Sarah & TJ will learn from and take the experience in stride.

And please, if anyone happened to see Serafini/Tran at Eastern sectionals, can someone provide a sense of how they looked together? Thanks.
 

aftershocks

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Okay, the other thread is ongoing where C/L's crash is being discussed and general issues of skater safety in emergencies. That's all valid and necessary to consider. I want to focus now on sending healing thoughts to Ashley and Timothy and supporting them to work through this setback and to be the stronger for it.

At Golden Spin, I still think the unexpected fall earlier in the fp where Ash's head jerked back-and-forth ended up distracting and throwing them off for the rest of the program. They have occasionally showed a bit of unsteadiness on their lifts they need to overcome. It's probably been the stress of competition that they've been challenged by in recent events.

I think C/L have developed some good basic lift positions and this season they've incorporated difficulty with a couple of new positions that are good, but they sometimes look unsteady. At Skate America though, Ash & Tim were on fire. If they can skate like they did at SA more consistently, it will really breed more confidence for them, and better scores. Here's their SA triumph, which is what they need to remember and build upon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0rHK9PNcDg

I'd like to see C/L focus on mastery of their lifts, sbs jumps, twist, and throws. Also, it would be beneficial if they could explore some lift positions that are more unique and that will flaunt Ashley's long limbs to advantage. Watching the recent pairs JGPF, I was struck by how much Poulianova resembles Ashley in terms of physicality. Of course Poulianova/Sopot are still developing and they aren't as great presentation-wise as Ash & Tim. Yet, I think looking at some of the technique on Poulianova's throws (take-off, air postion, and landing) could be helpful. At SA, Ashley looked smoother than she was last season her throw landings and she achieved better height and distance in the air, but they need to be consistent. it's always a constant battle to continue improving.

I'm attaching below the sp and fp of Poulianova/Sopot to show their lifts and throws. P/S made some errors in the fp, but they skated well in their sp in Vancouver:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Poulianova/Sopot+2018 Poulianova/Sopot JGPF sp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LjgGM6QYg0 Scroll to 16:30 for start of Poulianova/Sopot fp at JGPF
Notice P/S first lift at 19:20; the second lift they go into at about 19:50 -- their first lift is one I think would look good on Ashley Cain. It's a gorgeous upright sitting position which then changes to a long straight horizontal postion with legs entwined and then Poulianova staying in that long body position leans backward slightly. This might be a good lift for Ash & Tim to try.

Of course, C/L's first order of business is to heal and to learn from the setback at Golden Spin.
 

AngieNikodinovLove

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For what its worth (and I aint no doctor) Ash on her socials seems fine, happy and full of energy. More energy than I had as a teen. Almost as if nothing happened.

So l now looking forward to Nationals.... cant wait to see all the top teams..... just a month or so away!!!

Yippeeeee!!!!!!
 

PairSkater12345

Active Member
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For what its worth (and I aint no doctor) Ash on her socials seems fine, happy and full of energy. More energy than I had as a teen. Almost as if nothing happened.

So l now looking forward to Nationals.... cant wait to see all the top teams..... just a month or so away!!!

Yippeeeee!!!!!!
I hope you are right. Buttttt..........You don't get over a concussion where you are unconscious in two weeks.....according to a neurologist friend of mine. She saw the vid.....I'm sure happy with her energy.
 

ilovepaydays

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For what its worth (and I aint no doctor) Ash on her socials seems fine, happy and full of energy. More energy than I had as a teen. Almost as if nothing happened.

So l now looking forward to Nationals.... cant wait to see all the top teams..... just a month or so away!!!

Yippeeeee!!!!!!
I hope you are right. Buttttt..........You don't get over a concussion where you are unconscious in two weeks.....according to a neurologist friend of mine. She saw the vid.....I'm sure happy with her energy.
Honestly, I would rather them be careful and withdraw from Nationals. I can’t imagine her, after what happened and then being on that long flight back - which could’ve have been good for her brain healing - being able to recover enough to fully prepare for Nationals.

Could they petition for 4CCs?
 

haribobo

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I don't think anyone has ever "petitioned" for 4cc...not sure anyone cares enough about it to do that. IMO they deserve a nice break after Nationals- they have competed a lot this year and last. There are other teams that could do 4CC who are at the same level. I think they could win Nationals someday or they could quit now, but I kinda feel like they peaked last season. It is tough for a team like them- they are very likable but where is this going? Its their right to skate as long as they want, but with their lack of size difference, this was always a high risk situation and could easily happen again. I mean, that twist too.... I am just nervous for them always.
 

carriecmu0503

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I don't think anyone has ever "petitioned" for 4cc...not sure anyone cares enough about it to do that. IMO they deserve a nice break after Nationals- they have competed a lot this year and last. There are other teams that could do 4CC who are at the same level. I think they could win Nationals someday or they could quit now, but I kinda feel like they peaked last season. It is tough for a team like them- they are very likable but where is this going? Its their right to skate as long as they want, but with their lack of size difference, this was always a high risk situation and could easily happen again. I mean, that twist too.... I am just nervous for them always.

The Kinierims petitioned for and got 2017 4CC and Worlds. The athletes do care about 4CC, as it is an ISU championship. The only year the top athletes tend to not go is the Olympic year, and that is strictly a matter of timing.
 

aftershocks

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Yeah, I mean it's one thing to think a pair team peaked, and another to just not be that into their skating for whatever reason. Ashley & Timothy will be the ones to decide how far they wish to go, and how much they are willing to put into the effort to get to where they dream to be. No one else gets to decide on others' passion, desire, heart, and courage.

I hope you are right. Buttttt..........You don't get over a concussion where you are unconscious in two weeks.....according to a neurologist friend of mine. She saw the vid.....I'm sure happy with her energy.
These situations (falls/concussions in skating) are different for everyone. We are not privy to Ashley's condition. AFAIK, no medical report has been released.

I'm sending Ashley and Timothy positive vibes and healing thoughts. Plus mucho love and support for their present and their future. #NeverGiveUpOnYourDreams #Believe

And a reminder that Ashley is getting married in 6 months! Wishing her so much happiness always, and an ocean full of delightful memories on her special day! I love this post Ashley made recently, in honor and gratitude:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BqIoLLslPm6/ #Anticipation #TwoHeartsForever
 
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aftershocks

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In other news, cross-posting from Cdn pairs thread where the topic of Mervin Tran and Olivia Serafini arose:

Mervin and Olivia also just skated in the Hudson Mohawk FSC holiday show yesterday; her Instagram Stories featured several clips of their program to "Chasing Cars"...
Thanks @jmtfti! Here's some posts by Oliva too:

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bphg9_VFpgr/ Is that throw a 3-lutz or a 3-flip? (ETA: okay it seems to be a 3-flip)

https://www.instagram.com/p/Brc9tu-nYiz/

There doesn't seem much of a height differential between Olivia and Mervin in the insta clip. But maybe it's deceiving since they are setting up for a throw. Do we know?
I don't think Olivia is much taller than Marissa, although maybe she is slightly taller. I don't know if height information is available or accurate if it is available online. I doubt there's any problem for Serafini/Tran regarding their heights. Coming together as a team is more about overall physical compatibility, equal technical strengths, understanding and trusting each other, having the same goals, and developing effective timing and rhythm on elements, as well as unison.

Things seem to be positive and building for them. At least based on the clips and pics we've seen so far. I don't think any videos of the exhibition they performed to at Sectionals has been made available. So only people who witnessed it live can give us feedback, or we just have to wait until S/T's US Nationals debut.

Here's another photo shared by Olivia, with this caption:
livsk8
Grateful for all that led us to this special moment, and for what’s to come. #pairsdebut #serafinitran #lakeplacid
https://www.instagram.com/p/BpMdpkpFxXk/
 
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Spiralgraph

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... but I kinda feel like they peaked last season. It is tough for a team like them- they are very likable but where is this going?

I think it's quite pessimistic to think that a team that has barely been together three years has peaked. K/O; the Knierims, for example, have both been together for many many years, and they both improved steadily year by year (not counting injuries/illness that set them back.) Fans are just impatient, many of us like some skaters themselves want instant progress and fast results. Sometimes it just doesn't work that way. I don't think Ashley and Tim have peaked as a pair team.

I'm hopeful C/L will still skate at Nationals healthy and skate relatively clean, and let the standings take care of themselves.
 

Sedge

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I think we would have seen video footage if Ashley was already back on the ice training.
 

Sylvia

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Thanks! Olivia Serafini captioned this IG photo with Mervin Tran "Give me one reason" which is a song by Tracy Chapman and their SP music this season (they had performed their SP at Regionals, not Sectionals).

S/T performed their SP at Sky Rink's 21st annual Holiday on the Hudson Skating Show on December 14 at Chelsea Piers in NYC - here are 2 clips (looks like from the beginning and end of the program): https://www.instagram.com/p/Brcs8tgBtQq/
 

aftershocks

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^^ Thanks for the additional peek. Those two clips from beginning and end of their sp only show stroking, footwork and a bit of choreographic sections, but no elements.

The earlier Instagram post by Olivia also has a brief clip of the short program debut apparently in Lake Placid (click on the right arrow for the clip): https://www.instagram.com/p/BpMdpkpFxXk/
It's only a clip of them being introduced and getting into starting position though. We have to wait until U.S. Natls to see their full programs. Good luck to Olivia and Mervin!
 

Spiralgraph

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For those of us who are fans of a former great Russian pair skater, her daughter will be competing in At USA nationals in Intermediate pairs with her partner:

Natasha Mishkutionok (Dallas FSC, Inc.) and Daniel Tioumentsev (Dallas FSC, Inc.)


thanks to Dobre who posted the link to the entries in the US dance thread. :)
 

Sylvia

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For those of us who are fans of a former great Russian pair skater, her daughter will be competing in At USA nationals in Intermediate pairs with her partner:

Natasha Mishkutionok (Dallas FSC, Inc.) and Daniel Tioumentsev (Dallas FSC, Inc.)
They are the 2018 U.S. Juvenile Pairs champions. :)

The current favorite for 2019 U.S. Intermediate Pairs gold, based on Sectionals and earlier performances, is the new team of Faye Kropf and past U.S. Nationals junior men's competitor Sasha Lunin (both Fort Wayne ISC, Inc.) who won Mids with a FS score of 77.41 to Mishkutionok/Tioumentsev's 61.81 in 2nd.

For those who'd like to watch their Mids free skates, M/T skated 3rd and K/L 5th of the 6 Intermediate pairs (only FS is required in Intermediate this year): https://usfigureskatingfanzone.com/watch/?Archive=309

ETA that Daniel Tioumentsev also has qualified for the Novice men's event at 2019 Nationals (he placed 7th in the Intermediate men's event at 2018 Nationals).
 
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kwanfan1818

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Leenen was born in Ottawa, so unless he came from a diplomat family, if they have kids, their kids can skate for the US or Canada :)

Congratulations to Castelli and Leenen :cheer2: and :40beers:
 

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